The Resourceful Osprey

There is no security on this earth, there is only opportunity.*

Male Osprey in Flight

Male Osprey in Flight

The osprey is a remarkable bird. One of America’s largest raptors, the osprey lives on every continent except Antarctica. An osprey’s body is between 22 to 25 inches long, with a wingspan of 4.5 to 6 feet. Females are larger than males. Wherever shallow water, fresh or salt, and sizable fish abound you will find osprey. In the fall and winter, they migrate to warmer waters in the most southern states or South America.

Coming in for a Landing

Coming in for a Landing

An osprey’s diet consists of 99% freshly caught fish. After spotting a fish from an altitude of 50-200 feet above water, the osprey enters a steep dive at speeds up to 80 mph and enters the water talons first; submerging itself 3 feet or more as it grasps the fish in its uniquely designed feet. It then turns the fish forward in an aerodynamic attitude and climbs to a nearby tree to feast.

Osprey Nest

Osprey Nest

Naturally found nesting high in trees near water, the osprey’s flexibility leads them to build their nest of up to 1,000 pounds wherever they can find a solid support. They will even build their nests on manmade structures such as channel markers, utility poles, and cell phone towers. Ospreys generally mate for life. If an osprey pair cannot find a suitable nesting spot, they will delay breeding. Such adaptability has allowed them to repopulate at remarkable rates after near demise due to DDT poisoning in the 1960’s and 70’s.

Florida Bay Osprey Nest

Florida Bay Osprey Nest

Whenever my husband and I go outside, we naturally scan the skies for birds. Sighting an osprey is a special treat. Now that I know the secret of their success, I admire them even more. Their resourcefulness reminds me of the words of the Apostle Paul: I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.**

The Resourceful Osprey

The Resourceful Osprey

Perhaps in the osprey there is an oracle for us during these stressful times. Do you agree?

*General Douglas MacArthur, US WWII general & war hero

**Philippians 4:12, The Holy Bible (English Standard Version © 2001 Crossway Bibles)

11 thoughts on “The Resourceful Osprey

  1. About a year ago I was sitting on the beach at Saga Bay lake and saw a very large bird swoop down and grab a fish…It was very awesome!! I believe after reading this it might have been an osprey. What a treat!!

  2. Beautiful shots! We have a few thousand eagles in Wisconsin now, and there are ospreys also, but I’ve yet to get pictures of ospreys.

  3. Susan, it’s quite likely that you did see an one. Witnessing an osprey capture a fish is quite a sight.

    Randy, thank you for your comment. Just before these osprey shots a bald eagle soared overhead, putting to flight hundreds of egrets. Unfortunately, I was watching the egrets through my camera and missed the eagle. Next time…

  4. I observed some Ospreys nesting in the spring at the Montesuma Wildlife Refuge and later in New Jersey near Atlantic City at another NWR.

    I got photos of the nests with the Atlantic City skyline and wind turbines in the background. But nothing like these, well done!

  5. I found you through stphoto’s blog…These photos are gorgeous! 🙂 I’m so glad I came over for a peek!
    I had my first “encounter” with an osprey while visiting Ocean City, NJ…I photographed a “seagull” and realized later that it couldn’t have been a seagull since, when I zoomed in, I saw it had a fish in it’s talons! Very neat!

    We have a lot in common, by the way…I too am an elementary teacher (albeit a teacher on hiatus while I raise the kids for a bit.) 🙂

  6. Thank you, Kanniduba, for your comment. I’m grateful because now I have “found” your blog. I love it! You have a great sense of humor and write well. By the way, you’re right; you captured an osprey. From your photo it looks like it caught a fish from the jack family. Note how the fish’s head is pointed forward.

  7. Pingback: Parenting, Osprey Style « Morningjoy’s Weblog

  8. I found the top photo, Male Osprey in flight, through Google. My daughter’s elementary school’s mascot is the Osprey. It opened its doors for the first time this year. “Watch Us SOAR” is their theme. If it is alright with you, I’d like to propose this photo for the cover? We would certainly give credit where credit is due. It is such a fitting photo of the bird in flight. Thank you for your consideration.

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